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Aug 30, 2022

‘Naturally insulating’ material emits pulses of superfluorescent light at room temperature

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers looking to synthesize a brighter and more stable nanoparticle for optical applications found that their creation instead exhibited a more surprising property: bursts of superfluorescence that occurred at both room temperature and regular intervals. The work could lead to the development of faster microchips, neurosensors, or materials for use in quantum computing applications, as well as a number of biological studies.

Superfluorescence occurs when atoms within a material synchronize and simultaneously emit a short but intense burst of light. The property is valuable for quantum optical applications, but extremely difficult to achieve at room temperatures and for intervals long enough to be useful.

The material in question—lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticle, or UCNP—was synthesized by the research team in an effort to create a “brighter” optical material. They produced hexagonal ceramic crystals ranging from 50 nanometers (nm) to 500 nm in size and began testing their lasing properties, which resulted in several impressive breakthroughs.

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